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Old 01-19-2013, 01:35 PM   #23
Josh Lerner
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Location: Renton, WA
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 80
Re: easily accessible videos of Internal Training in Aikido?

In the spirit of trying to make my point as clear as I can about a topic that provokes massive amounts of heated debate and defensiveness on both sides, I'll repeat my points so as to avoid as many misunderstandings as is humanly possible.

The qualifiers -

1. I've drunk the internal Kool-Aide, I've experienced it from Dan, Mike, Ark, and many others, I practice it, I'm with you guys. This isn't an attack on any internal training premise or training method.

2. I'm not talking about Ikeda's abilities at all. Although I've never met him, I have no doubt that he is skilled in the way that people say he is.

3. What he is demonstrating is easier to do and more effective if you also have even a small amount of internal connection and "listening" ability.

4. I'm saying that what he is demonstrating is a different principle than the "whole body" principle he is describing, and that this is an important issue if you are using demonstrations to illustrate points.

My understanding of what Ikeda is saying is that if you don't use the whole body, it's very difficult to move someone if they are resisting you, but if you use your whole body, they will move easily. Adding a second uke seems to strengthen the point, because two ukes holding you down is in theory twice as much force as you have to deal with, so you would need to be able to generate twice as much force compared to working with just one uke.

So, my reading of what he is saying in simple terms:

Not using whole body = weak, can't move someone around.

Using whole body = strong, can easily handle or generate twice as much force, in the form of twice as many people.

IMPORTANT POINT: If that is not, in fact, what he is trying to demonstrate, then my point is moot and none of what follows is relevant.

My problem with the demonstration and explanation is that once you have disengaged the uke's shoulder like he does, they can no longer effectively apply any resistance and bring their body weight to bear on the wrist they are grabbing, which means that when you move them around it requires no particular strength or "whole body" usage on your part. Again, it helps if you do, but is not really required. I've had it done to me effectively by people who had little internal skill, and I did it long before I ever got into internal training.

Getting the connection through the wrist up into the shoulder is the key, and it is a distinct skill to be able to feel the pathway that allows you to unlock their shoulder, but it is a different thing than engaging whole body power and has only a minor connection to the amount of force you can absorb or generate through your body. And once you've unlocked the shoulder, it is easy to move them around.

Demonstrating with two people grabbing you is a demonstration of the fact that the force they are trying to apply is meaningless if they can't effectively apply it. It is not a meaningful demonstration of how whole body power allows you to be much stronger. It's like the demos that people love to do where you have a line of a dozen people pushing on you; all you have to do is deal with the first one, and then none of the force from the other dozen people matter. What it *looks*like is that you are magically able to deal with twelve times as much force, when it is really a demonstration of how easily your assumptions about what is going on will mislead you.

Phi Truong wrote: View Post
alot of stuffs happened inside, so if folks just looked at the outer appearance, they would imitate the wrong things. I was on the receiving end of that sort of demonstration before. before the arms moved, he did the SJT #1 (sink the qi) then aikiage with his dantien/hara, then all the arm movements. folks observed would think that it was his arm rotations that made uke's shoulders did the crunching thingy.
If the outer appearance is so misleading, though, why demonstrate that way? That would seem to be a very ineffective way of teaching, unless you are also acknowledging that point and explaining why the appearance is misleading. Although if that was just a public demonstration for the purpose of promoting the art or the teacher it is slightly more understandable. But it is an important point, especially when you are trying to teach a very subtle or difficult skill.

Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post

So my partner and I get back together and we're still struggling because what was that, anyway? And then it clicks--Imaizumi is not putting pressure on the point of contact (the wrist grab). In the concepts that Dan teaches, he's using elbow power (ki out the elbow, not along the line of contact). He's using yin/yang at the point of contact (as much as he's coming in on one side, he's taking back on the other so that the point remains neutral). He's using 5+5=10 (as much intent on one side of the point of contact as the other) and then rebalancing (7+3=10) to lead uke offline and into the throw. Once I started applying those concepts, the throw started to work.
Exactly. And let's assume that what Ikeda is doing is something similar. Or maybe he is doing the trick that I learned decades ago from my first aikido instructor where you let someone grab you and you offer them some very brief, slight resistance, then relax and note where their grab naturally pushes you, and you keep following that line and redirect it where you want it to go. That one is a trick that you can't see being done and you can't really notice it being done to you either, unless you are looking for it (and even then it can be hard to detect), and it feels like you are magically being forced to follow the nage. None of that has anything to do with "whole body power", which seems to be the skill he is demonstrating based on what he says. So you could also rephrase what Phi was saying and instead say "If folks just listened to what the instructor is saying, they would imitate the wrong things."
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